Feng Zhang is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the James and Patricia Poitras Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and a core member of the Broad Institute. He is also a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Zhang is a molecular biologist focused on improving human health. He played an integral role in the development of two revolutionary technologies, optogenetics and CRISPR-Cas systems, including pioneering the use of Cas9 for genome editing as well as discovering CRISPR-Cas12 and Cas13 systems and developing them for therapeutic and diagnostics applications.
Zhang’s seminal work provided the foundation for CRISPR-based medicines, and his discoveries continue to fuel the clinical translation of CRISPR technologies. Additionally, he developed the diagnostic platform, SHERLOCK, which is being leveraged to help monitor infectious diseases, including the coronavirus outbreak.
Zhang is a recipient of many awards including the Canada Gairdner International Award, the Tang Prize, the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. He has also received technology innovation awards from the Paul G. Allen Family, McKnight, New York Stem Cell and Damon Runyon foundations.
Zhang received his A.B. in chemistry and physics from Harvard College and his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University.
Zhang is an alumnus of the 2000 Science Talent Search and the 1998 and 1999 International Science and Engineering Fair.
He joined the Society’s Board of Trustees in 2017.